Apr 29 2008

How to stay cool without air conditioning


Yesterday, Be Thrifty Like Us shared tips on how to save money on your air conditioning.

I’d like to expand that, and share some things I’ve done in the past to stay cool without air conditioning.

For a few years, my family lived in a two-bedroom, 524-square-foot apartment. It was supertiny, but the layout was quite efficient and honestly, it didn’t feel that bad. It helped that my sister and I were constantly playing outside. Also, it helped that many of our belongings were in a storage unit while we were building a house.

Anyway, the tiny apartment didn’t have air conditioning. If you’ve lived through a summer in Indiana, you know it can get quite hot and ridiculously humid. I remember one particularly muggy night when it was 99 degrees at midnight. Yeah. Try to sleep when it’s that hot. Whatever.

If you don’t have an air conditioner, or yours breaks this summer, I’d like to share a few things we did to stay cool.

–Get a few portable fans! Box fans and fans that rotate can really help the cause. Of course, keep them away from tiny fingers.

–At night, when it’s cooler outside but still pretty warm inside, take a box fan and put it facing outward in a window in your living room. Turn it on, blowing air to the outside. Essentially, it’s a crude exhaust fan. Shut all windows in your living room, just allowing one window to be open around your box fan. Open your windows in your bedroom, and you should feel a nice breeze blowing into your house from the outside.

–Drink lots of ice-cold water. Hydration is important, and the cold water will cool you down.

–Run cold water along your wrists to instantly cool you down. Take off your shoes and go into your bathroom. Plug the drain, and turn the shower on cold. Sit on the edge of the tub with your feet (at least up to your ankles) in the water. You’ll feel much cooler, plus the cold shower will help cool off the air around you. I realize this can use a bit of water. Maybe collect some of the water in buckets to use in your washing machine or to water your plants to minimize waste.

–Don’t use the oven or stove on particularly hot days. Use your microwave or a crockpot if you want heated foods, but your best bet is probably to grill outside or eat cold foods.

–Sara shared this tip to help with your AC, but it’s also good when you don’t have one at all. Cover your windows with thick blankets/towels to keep the sunlight out during the hot afternoons. Put the blankets up before the heat of the day really sets in.

–When it’s insanely, miserably hot, get out of your house! Go to the pool, the library, the mall–somewhere that has air conditioning or that’s cooler than your own house.

Posted under Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

8 Responses to “How to stay cool without air conditioning”

  1. Even if you are lucky enough to have an A/C unit, you can do things to reduce the cost of running it. Akin to putting up the blankets on the windows, make sure to close drapes and blinds during summer days, so that the A/C doesn’t have to work as much to keep the house cool. Try closing off vents to rooms that you use infrequently. No need to keep that guest bedroom an icebox if no one’s there.

  2. These are great ideas! One night it was so hot my husband and I got mad and threw water on each other. Then we sat around partially wet and that was the best way I’ve found to stay cool here in SC. There are also these bandanas called “Cool Downz” that are filled with crystals that expand when they absorb water. Then they let it gradually evaporate and it’s cooling in the same way. They’re about five bucks and I’d say they’re worth it, particularly if you’re pregnant or have to be out in the heat, etc.

  3. Covering the windows with blankets is a really good one. I did this for my son’s room last night.

  4. My father has taught me that once you turn on the AC, leave it on. It dosn’t really cool the air so much as remove the moisture (like a dehumidifier). So once it has the house all moisture free, it runs at its most efficient (and lowest cost). So if you turn it off one day to get some fresh air or b/c you think you will save money, that’s not true. The poor thing has to start all over again.

    Like the furnace, the best thing is to turn on the air and set it at a steady temperature. Go outside for fresh air.

    I like the tip about going somewhere and using their AC … like the library.

  5. Not having any a/c, this is a great post for me. My house really only gets hot in the late afternoons when the sun is beating in the windows. I will try the blankets. Someone told me that you can also put aluminum foil over the windows in the afternoons to reflect the heat back. Hmmmm, maybe one of those space blankets instead of shades.

    CindyS’s last blog post..Starting a New Business: My Son Actually Listened!

  6. Good ideas! We don’t have central air and until I got window AC for my bedroom I used to take a spray bottle of water and spray my bed before I laid down. I’d turn on the ceiling fan and it would cool me enough so I could fall asleeep.

    Dawn’s last blog post..The Biddy Cat Easy-Scoop Litter Box Review

  7. If only I had read these tips last year, I just moved into a house with central air recently for the first time in my life, and I love it. Of course that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t use some of these ideas to save on energy though.

    I remember when the realtor said that the house had a brand new hvac system, I just about hugged her. :)

  8. You can get solar shades for the outsides of your windows! Quite a few homes here in Las Vegas have those!

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife and mother of 3. I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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